Pondoland: The Pondoland Centre of Endemism

Pondoland is internationally recognized as a botanical ‘hotspot’ of plant endemism – it contains a significant proportion of the planets plant biodiversity.

The Pondoland Centre of Endemism covers an area of 1880 square km’s.

The region is a known depository of rare Sangaon and other Stone Age artifacts, although these sites have hardly been investigated.

It extends from the Mtumvuna River at Port Edward, to the Kei River and extends inland from the sea for about 16 kms

Much of the PCE’s environmental wealth is highly ‘site specific’ i.e. high numbers of endemic species (meaning species that they occur nowhere else in the world) are generally contained in very small populations and area’s, making it ecology extremely sensitive to disruption.

No extensive and comprehensive study has ever been done on the natural assets of the PCE, but a study of the flora of 4 sites in the area, namely Mkambati, Oribi Gorge, Umtamvuna Nature Reserve and Port St Johns, revealed 2 253 species, of which 196 where endemic. Of the endemics only 16 occur in all four of the above mentioned sites, indicating that each of the investigated sites contains its own specific endemics that occur no where else.

Internationally recognized as a botanical ‘hotspot’ of plant endemism - contains a significant proportion of the planets plant biodiversity.

Threats: population pressures, unsustainable subsistence agricultural practices through lack of good farming practices, insufficient policing of protected areas, illegal logging, unsustainable wild plant harvesting and harvesting of natural resources, inappropriate development proposals by local and regional government and authorities and private concerns, (specifically timber plantations, maize and other biofuel crops,) damming of estuarine rivers, and proposals to build a tolled highway and to open cast dune mine in the heart of the PCE

PONDOLAND CENTRE ENDEMICS AND THEIR DISTRIBUTION PATTERNS
Tony Abbott, P O Box 111, Port Edward 4295